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Ljubljana Festival and Batumi MusicFest presented their 2016 programmes in Brussels

9 February 2016

Today, on 9 February at the European House for Culture in Brussels, Ljubljana Festival and Batumi MusicFest presented their 2016 programmes. Colleagues from the cultural sector and policy representatives attended the event to listen to the sneak peeks given by the festival’s artistic directors, Darko Brlek (Ljubljana) and Elisso Bolkvadze (Batumi). Ljubljana Festival will take place 27 June until 13 September; Batumi MusicFest will run from 17 until 22 September.

The audience was welcomed by Tamar Loladze, Second Secretary, Cultural Relations Embassy of Georgia to the Kingdom of Belgium, Mission of Georgia to the EU; Darko Brlek, EFA President and Artistic Director of the Ljubljana Festival; and Hugo De Greef, EFA Interim Secretary General.

Hugo De Greef said: "The European Festivals Association (EFA) is delighted to welcome two of its almost 100 members to Brussels. For EFA it is important to support its members in bringing their voices and their artistic endeavours to an international audience."

Ljubljana Festival

The 64th Ljubljana Festival – the longest-running and most important festival in the region – will host numerous renowned Slovenian and foreign artists from the spheres of music, opera, dance and musicals. It officially begins on 27 June at beautiful Kongresni trg (Congress Square) with a concert by renowned bass-baritone Erwin Schrott.

This year’s festival features world-renowned orchestras and conductors: the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Daniele Gatti, the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lin Daye. Ljubljana will also host Maestro Valery Gergiev. Renowned soloists Simon Trpčeski, Denis Matsuev, Katia and Marielle Labèque on piano and violinists Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Roby Lakatos, Lana Trotovšek, Janez Podlesek, Hillary Hahn and Xi Chen will enrich the festival evenings. Wonderful opera performances will feature, in addition to Erwin Schrott, the tenor Piotr Beczała, the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre Ljubljana performing Verdi’s Otello and the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre Maribor performing Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson and Delilah. The ballet programme will feature fantastic performances by some of the world’s leading dance companies. These include the ballet Confucius performed by the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, and the ballet Cello Suites (In den Winden im Nichts) performed by the Ballet Company of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The Eifman Ballet from St Petersburg returns to the Ljubljana Festival with a performance of Up and Down, which will close the 64th Ljubljana Festival on 13 September. There will be two musicals at this year’s festival – Vesna and Mamma Mia!

Laibach with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra tonight at the Bozar in Brussels

This year, for the first time, the Ljubljana Festival is holding an event in Brussels, tonight at 8pm at Bozar, which will feature a crossover concert by the band Laibach and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be on the festival’s programme on 2 September.

Thirty-five years after its founding, Laibach (which is one of the historical names of Ljubljana) is the most internationally acclaimed band to have come out of the former communist countries of eastern and central Europe, and is one of the most mysterious and prophetic bands, but also one of the most authentic. It was started in the year of Tito’s passing in the industrial town of Trbovlje, in the so-called “revolutionary-red” part of Slovenia. Laibach has consistently resisted any attempt at labelling and refuses to be categorised as “rock”, “pop”, “techno” or “industrial”. In August 2015 they were the first band of its kind to perform in inaccessible North Korea. Numerous documentaries have been filmed and books written about them, their bold music has accompanied several theatrical productions, and they have featured in several Hollywood blockbusters (Spider-Man, The Blair Witch Project, Iron Sky and the series Alias). Tonight’s programme at the Henry Le Boeuf Hall at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts is a cooperation between Laibach and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra. The young Slovenian composer Anže Rozman arranged the score for the orchestra, which will be conducted by Simon Dvoršak. The audience will hear new interpretations of Laibach songs, including songs from the Sound of Music and Spectre projects, and also from the 2003 album WAT, which address the refugee and migration crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

Find out more about the 2016 Ljubljana Festival.

Batumi MusicFest

Dedicated to classical music and flamboyant Georgian folklore, the fourth edition of Batumi MusicFest will be held in Batumi, Georgia, a magical city at the shore of the Black Sea, from 17 to 22 September 2016. In the very heart of the magnificent region of Adjara, the Batumi MusicFest takes place within the enchanting surrounding of the Batumi Music Center and Piazza.

Batumi City has the intimate atmosphere that encourages musical excellence. The energy of the bright summer sun inspires music lovers to become a part of unforgettable musical moments. The diverse programme brings different cultures together and music becomes a universal peace language. Master classes will be held in order to discover, inspire and motivate young talents from all over Georgia. A special prize is founded by Charity Foundation “Lyra”. Batumi MusicFest was founded by a famous Georgian pianist, UNESCO Artist for Peace, Elisso Bolkvadze. The festival is supported by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, by the Ministry of Culture of Georgia and the State of Adjara.

The next festival will welcome international renowned artists from many countries. The famous French TV channel “Mezzo” will shoot a documentary about the festival, as an emergent new festival on the international musical scene.

Batumi MusicFest will disclose its full 2016 programme shortly. Find out more about the festival here